The Optimum Methionine to Methionine Plus Cystine Ratio for Growing Pigs Determined Using Plasma Urea Nitrogen and Nitrogen Balance

  • Qiao, Shiyan (Ministry of Agriculture Feed Industry Center, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Piao, Xiangshu (Ministry of Agriculture Feed Industry Center, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Feng, Zhanyu (Ministry of Agriculture Feed Industry Center, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Ding, Yuhua (Ministry of Agriculture Feed Industry Center, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Yue, Longyao (Ministry of Agriculture Feed Industry Center, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Thacker, P.A. (Ministry of Agriculture Feed Industry Center, China Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2006.08.09
  • Accepted : 2007.01.03
  • Published : 2008.03.01


The objective of this study was to determine the optimum ratio of methionine to methionine plus cystine for growing pigs. A nitrogen balance trial was conducted using a total of 21 barrows (Large WhiteLandrace) over two replicates. The initial body weight was $20.36{\pm}1.22kg$ (mean${\pm}$SD) in the first replicate and $23.54{\pm}1.02kg$ (mean${\pm}$SD) in the second. For each replicate, the 21 pigs were randomly assigned to one of seven dietary treatments with three observations per treatment. The diets included a methionine and cystine-deficient basal diet with all other essential nutrients meeting nutrient requirements and six diets formulated with graded levels of DL-methionine (0.00, 0.03, 0.06, 0.10, 0.13, 0.16%) and $L-Cystine{\cdot}HCl{\cdot}H_2O$ (0.19, 0.15, 0.11, 0.07, 0.04, 0.00%). This resulted in ratios of methionine to methionine plus cystine of 41.3, 29.6, 35.3, 41.2, 46.0, 51.6 and 57.5%. Each experimental period lasted 12 days consisting of a seven-day adaptation period followed by a five-day total collection of urine and feces. During the collection period, pigs were fed 900 g/day for the first replicate and 1,200 g/day for the second replicate. The feed was provided in three equal portions at 0800, 1500, and 2200 h daily. Pigs had ad libitum access to water after feeding. There was a linear (p<0.01) and quadratic (p<0.01) effect on daily gain and feed conversion as the ratio of methionine to methionine plus cystine increased. Pigs receiving the diets providing a methionine to methionine plus cystine ratio of 51.6% had the best daily gain and feed conversion. Plasma urea nitrogen was also lowest for this treatment. Nitrogen retention increased (p<0.01) as the relative proportion of methionine increased up to 51.6% and then a downward trend occurred at 57.5%. The quadratic regression model, as well as one- and two- slope regression line models, were used to determine the optimum ratio of methionine to methionine plus cystine. Eliminating the 35.3% methionine to methionine plus cystine treatment resulted in $R^2$ values in excess of 0.92. The optimal ratio of methionine to methionine plus cystine was estimated to be 54.15% for nitrogen retention and 56.72% for plasma urea nitrogen.


Pigs;Methionine;Cystine;Ratio;Nitrogen Retention;Plasma Urea Nitrogen


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